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by James S. Trefil

eBook 101 Things You Don't Know About Science and No One Else Does Either download ISBN: 0304349933
Author: James S. Trefil
Publisher: CASSELL ILLUSTRATED (1997)
Language: English
ePub: 1254 kb
Fb2: 1497 kb
Rating: 4.2
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Category: Religious
Subcategory: New Age and Spirituality

The "101 Things," which amount to 101 mini essays on scientific subjects, are organized into eight chapters ranging from the physical sciences through biology to technology. Trefil is by education a physicist and by inclination a science generalist.

The "101 Things," which amount to 101 mini essays on scientific subjects, are organized into eight chapters ranging from the physical sciences through biology to technology. He is also opinionated, which I think puts him one level above those writers who are loath to express an opinion for fear of being wrong or of offending some group or persons. Sometimes Trefil's opinions are surprising, most notably his view that the case for global warming as caused by human activities has not yet been made.

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James Trefil does a real service for the rest of us by digesting significant scientific advances into a small 330 . Trefil's book does contain 101 of the most fascinating unanswered questions of our time

James Trefil does a real service for the rest of us by digesting significant scientific advances into a small 330 page book. Trefil's book does contain 101 of the most fascinating unanswered questions of our time. This book is an excellent source for grad students looking for a dissertation as well as for the average person just wanting to learn a little more on science. Admittedly he doesn't go into a lot of detail, but that is part of the books charm, he keeps it short.

In elegant, witty three-page summations, Dr. Trefil "makes sense of science for the rest of us" (Washington Post).

By (author) James S. Trefil. In elegant, witty three-page summations, Dr. Close X. Learn about new offers and get more deals by joining our newsletter.

The Edge of the Unknown: 101 Things You Don't Know about Science and No One Else Does Either is a popular science book written by American physicist James Trefil. Published in 1996, the 355-page work is Trefil's 10th publication.

Else Does Either is a popular science book written by American physicist James Trefil­ . According to Bruce Slutsky, "the book's major shortcoming is that treatment of each issue is very cursory (only three-page summations) with no historical context or extended discussion on the philosophical consequences of scientific discoveries.

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Comments: (7)
Narder
It was good 2 actually get something up 2 date,4 a change..I have N-joyed this new book immensely. When you are stuck N a Science and Weather station, where I am @ present,it's always good 2 have something different 2 read. Our temperature 2day is 86 degrees B-low zero. While the sun is out nothing else is,not even the seals...I don't venture out when it is ,this cold. The other book, I ordered, "The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy" What every American needs 2 Know, should B required reading N all our schools................ 2 date I have read 2 volumes of this book.. The first on is Volume (ONE)> Thank you very much. Jon R.Bass
Agarus
A great book for those of us who have been out of school for a while. Not at all like a text book, the author keeps it very interesting. Yet the book is well organized and allows the reader to jump around from topic to topic.

I have skipped some topics I wasn't dying to read, but I will likely go back and check them out when I have time.

One issue is that science is moving so fast and this book is now almost 2 decades old. Interesting, though, that most of what the author writes about still holds true today.
Yar
but they cant stop telling me about it. older book, so some information is now pretty common, however, great read and perfectly split "chapters" 4 page essays.
Mr.Savik
Having read Trefil's Are We Unique? A Scientist Explores the Unparalleled Intelligence of the Human Mind (1997) and his Human Nature: A Blueprint for Managing the Earth--by People, for People (2004) I was pleased to come across this volume published in 1996. Trefil is an engaging writer with a gift for making scientific ideas accessible to the general reader.

The "101 Things," which amount to 101 mini essays on scientific subjects, are organized into eight chapters ranging from the physical sciences through biology to technology. Trefil is by education a physicist and by inclination a science generalist.

He is also opinionated, which I think puts him one level above those writers who are loath to express an opinion for fear of being wrong or of offending some group or persons. Sometimes Trefil's opinions are surprising, most notably his view that the case for global warming as caused by human activities has not yet been made. Or when he opts for an earth that is managed for the benefit and convenience of humans beings with only secondary regard for preserving natural environments.

The first chapter is entitled "The Top Ten Problems in Science," the first of which is "Why Is There Something Rather than Nothing." This is really not a problem in science; this striking question more properly belongs in the realm of philosophy. At any rate, Trefil doesn't attempt to answer the question. Instead he writes about the origin of the universe, the Big Bang, about quantum uncertainty in which it is seen that the vacuum of space is not so vacuous as was once thought.

In most of the essays--which incidentally average around a tidy thousand words each--Trefil gives his view on how the problem will play out. In some cases however his conclusion is a bit fuzzy, as it is in the essay "Will We Ever Understand Consciousness?" (pp. 15-17)

First he doesn't define consciousness, which is often a major failing whenever the subject arises. He does say the "debate" is over what "it means for a human being...to think, to feel emotions, to have a subjective experience of the world." If this is the question of consciousness, then the question is one that will never be answered since it is hopelessly subjective. It is like trying to explain to someone who has been blind from birth what the color "red" looks like.

Usually consciousness is defined as awareness or self-awareness or as an identification with the self. It isn't just one question. The question of self-awareness is separate from the question of awareness of the external world and separate from the question of self-identity. Lumping them together as Trefil and many others do just confuses the issue. His answer ("My own guess is that consciousness will turn out to be an emergent property of complex systems") is one that I would agree with; but I wonder if Trefil really appreciates the implication of his answer when he hopes (against Francis Crick's view) that "human beings will be found to be something more than a 'vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.'" (p. 17) I wish he had speculated on what that "more" that might be. One senses that the mysterian in Trefil's soul is yearning to be out and about, but that Trefil's sense of (scientific) propriety is keeping him under lock and key. Maybe if and when Trefil writes his memoirs we'll know how he really feels.

By the way, speaking of fuzzy logic, there is an essay on the subject entitled "Where Next with Fuzzy Logic?" on page 324.

I also want to take issue with Trefil's statement that "only a relatively small range of values of phenomena like the gravitational force or electrical charge will allow the possibility of life." (p. 54) This idea (often found coupled with the so-called "anthropic principle") is really something like the "anthropic arrogant delusion." Life as we know it, of course, probably requires the familiar range of values; however, life in general, in the widest sense of the word, may exist in conditions we can't even imagine.

Despite some quibbles, Trefil's book is a most interesting and informative read, and although it is ten years old, much of what he writes is still relevant and at or near the cutting edge of the science in question.
Zulkigis
This author tries to layout in terms normal people will understand 101 things that are important in science but that no one really understands. The author does this by using terminology any reasonably educated person would be familiar with. He also limits his explanations to 3 pages. This cuts down on too much overload. The book suffers from the author's own predictions of becoming dated because of new technologies and new discoveries but it is still relevant.

These are the topics covered:

The top ten problems in science:

1. Why is there something instead of nothing?

2. Is there a future for gene therapy?

3. Will we ever understand consciousness?

4. Why do we age?

5. How much of human behavior depends on genes?

6. How did life begin?

7. Can we monitor the living brain?

8. Are viruses going to get us all?

9. When will we have designer drugs?

10. Is there a theory of everything and can we afford to find it?

Other subject headlines are:

The physical sciences

Astronomy and cosmology

Earth and planetary sciences

Biology

Medicine

Evolution

Technology